Question: If it is difficult for somebody to strive for the Supreme, for the Highest, is it better to insincerely strive for the Highest or to sincerely strive for an intermediate goal?

Sri Chinmoy: An intermediate goal is for those who have not accepted the spiritual life, for those who are caught by ordinary life. Because they have to think of their children, their husbands and wives, their earthly life, they are already at a lower level. When aspiration is not involved, when someone does not have the inner urge to climb up the mountain, then naturally he will be satisfied to climb up a hill. But once someone begins aspiring and accepts the spiritual life, his goal must be the Highest. There can be no intermediate goal for sincere seekers.

Insincere seekers can have an intermediate goal. But for those who want to be true instruments of God, for those who have the inner courage to dare to say, "I have come into the world to please God in His own Way," there can be no intermediate goal. They have to go to the topmost branch of the aspiration-life-tree. After climbing up a few metres they may slip and fall down; they may fall down again and again. But their goal has to be the Highest.

Once we start compromising with the outer life, our spiritual life is finished. If we think we can be totally involved in the outer life or social life, then we are only fooling ourselves. Before we know it, the outer life will start lording it over us and our inner life will end. As soon as we lose our seriousness in the spiritual life, we are gone. At first we may say to God, "I will please You fifty per cent and You please me fifty per cent." But eventually we will say, "God, You please me ninety per cent because I am so weak." Finally, our message will be: "God, I am so useless! You have to please me ninety-nine percent." Then the game is over. If we can be satisfied with keeping only a one-percent connection with our inner life, with our Source, then our spiritual life is a complete failure.

The day we accepted the spiritual life, we had the hope and eagerness to reach the Highest. Nobody came to our spiritual path with the idea, "If I get a little joy or conquer a little of my jealousy and doubt, that will be enough." No, everyone came with the eagerness, the readiness and the inner urge to become an absolutely divine person. In rare cases, people may have joined the path only to see what it looked like, to see what kind of flowers it had and whether those flowers were really beautiful and fragrant. But in most cases, the disciples joined the path to reach the Highest, which is to please God in God's own Way through love, devotion and surrender. When this is our goal, then inwardly we have to climb up the highest mountain. The problem is that we cleverly and deliberately forget our goal.

True, everybody's height may not be the same, but everybody's willingness can be the same. One disciple may have the capacity to walk with the Master only for one mile, while another has the capacity to run a marathon with the Master. But along with capacity, readiness and eagerness also are of paramount importance. If someone does not have the same capacity as somebody else, that person's willingness God will also take into account. If God sees sincere willingness, immediately He will increase the person's capacity. So many people have run only two miles a day and then completed a marathon. It is all due to their eagerness. Before I completed a marathon, I had covered at most only three or four miles. But my eagerness carried me to my goal.